Don’t jail them for ganja

While some Barbadians hold strong views against marijuana use, many of them feel people should not be jailed for it.

These emerged as among the most popular views at a recent town hall meeting of the CARICOM Commission on Marijuana. Also among the contending positions were calls for the drug’s use to be decriminalized and questions on why the plant was illegal in the first place.

The Commission, led by University of the West Indies Professor Rose Marie Belle-Antoine, has a region-wide mandate to get opinions of citizens on how marijuana should be regarded in the eyes of the law, and in what form. It takes submission by email, and live presentations.

The Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre was the venue for live presentations from Barbadians on August 27.

Antoine, a law professor, said in its work the Commission was making “a distinction between legalization and decriminalization” of the plant.

She indicated that the mandate had more to do with decriminalization “which means it could still be a law on the statute books but it would not attract criminal penalties, at least for certain targeted offences, as opposed to an all out legalization as was done for alcohol many years ago”.

The first Bajan contributor to the night’s proceedings, Nailia Robinson, said people should not be locked up for a spliff, “but I would be very concerned about sending a message to the young people in our society that we’re embracing marijuana”.

“If we were to decriminalize, this is the message that we would be sending.”

Countering popular suggestions about marijuana being a viable crop for commercial export, she said: “We don’t even grow Bajan cherries in Barbados . . . I don’t think we’re going to have a special brand of Bajan weed that we’re exporting and making billions of dollars.”

Stating that it would take about 20 years to see the full effects of the type of social change which could be brought on by easing enforcement of laws against marijuana, Emile Trotman warned, “decriminalising marijuana use will have long term injurious effects both in terms of its intoxicating aspects and effects associated with smoking.

“It is ironic that after many years of campaigning trying to discourage many young people from smoking, we’re now embarking on decriminalising another aspect of smoking.”

Showing an apparent recognition that the plant will eventually be decriminalized, he suggested it be treated with the same attention given to legal drugs.

“If you decriminalize marijuana, then there should be a campaign to discourage people from using marijuana. The two things should run together.”

Indicating that he was against the criminality of marijuana possession because it causes many young persons to end up in jail, Trotman explained, “At the same time, you should have a vigorous campaign discouraging people from using marijuana.”

Ryan Moseley, an attorney, argued that despite multiple religious beliefs in the region, “most of the Caribbean is Christian, and the popular Christian belief is that God created everything, only God can create”.

“God clearly therefore created marijuana, but we have laws in place where you can lose your freedom and your opportunity for upward mobility in society for conviction of simple possession of something that God put on the Earth.”

Contending, “there is no real benefit of the criminalization of marijuana”, he posited, “the criminalization of marijuana causes criminality”.

“The guns that come into the country are to protect the illegal thing that they inflate the price of because it is illegal.

“Every single time you see a seizure of marijuana at the ports, shortly after that you see a big upsurge in crime . . . because those people who are selling those little five-bags on the corner and sending their children to school, the children now can’t eat.

“Money has to come somewhere and they end up robbing.”

Further, he said that the criminal convictions slapped on young people for possession or use of the plant branded them for life.

“We have a lot of young people can’t get a police certificate of character, so they can’t get a job. What are they going to do?”

In similar vein to Moseley, Government Senator Verla De Peiza said: “I am dismayed as we sit back and allow an entire generation to be criminalized, unable to go to school because if you have that criminal conviction UWI does not want to see you.”

Advising to “not confuse use and abuse”, she said criminal convictions for use and possession of marijuana were resulting in “an entire generation unable to work because the police certificate of character is not clean”. She asked, “How do we in all good conscience allow this to continue?”

David Sandiford, a social worker, was concerned with what he viewed as the double standards of society.

“Whenever they want to say something against marijuana they would look for a vagrant, a ‘paro’ in the street, “ he charged, adding “they will never point to all the UWI graduates”.

Source: by George Alleyne

45 Responses to Don’t jail them for ganja

  1. Matthew Jordan
    Matthew Jordan October 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Until the laws change it is still illegal. Despite what is going on in other countries, we have our own laws here. Why do we insist on giving our children the impression that doing something against the law is “ok” because other people are doing it?

    • Ser Guerrique
      Ser Guerrique October 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Slavery was legal, I guess those abolitionist should have continued to obey the law then until hopefully the laws were changed.

      Killing homosexual people for being homosexual is legal
      Kissing a woman while in public with a beard is illegal in certain countries.
      Flatulating in public in certain countries is illegal

      Point is there are many ridiculous laws, just because they’re law doesn’t make them right.

      Cigarettes are detrimentally cancerous and cause more harm to the lungs than marijuana does, but guess what, they are legal.

      Alcohol, while being legal, causes people to develop cirrhosis of the liver and many other pernicious afflictions.

      Marijuana, makes you hungry,……..that’s it. Oh and erodes adipose tissue.

    • Matthew Jordan
      Matthew Jordan October 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Again, several people miss the point. We live in Barbados, until the law changes it is illegal to smoke marijuana. You comparing making marijuana legal to slavery being legal is absurd. Slavery was the oppression of one race on another, we are discussing passing a law to allow people to smoke!

    • Kadri Walcott
      Kadri Walcott October 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Matthew Jordan We have allowed laws to be passed to allow people to drink whiskey.

    • Ser Guerrique
      Ser Guerrique October 7, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Matthew Jordan I used slavery because they considered changing the laws because of the insurgence of the abolitionist. So maybe there should be an insurgence against the prohibition of Marijuana. Comparatively, marijuana usage and slavery are incomparable but the point I was trying to make is that just because something is law it doesn’t automatically give that law plausibility.

      I believe that the law shouldn’t have existed in the first place because why would they legalize tobacco and not marijuana, just doesn’t make sense to me given that one is patently more detrimental than the other and you cannot tell me that the law makers who approved that law retrospectively didn’t know that.

      I believe the reason it was criminalized was because the government couldn’t incept and develop a monopoly around it and so they criminalized it because of that. But they now have created a monopoly around it and have begun to commercialize and distribute it and now it’s an incredibly lucrative commodity to the us government ( which Barbados espoused the law from ).

      I understand your point but the criminalization of marijuana just seemed vindictive and counterproductive to me.

      • Jennifer October 7, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        @Ser – 3rd paragraph is spot on. Just like alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, pharmaceuticals etc. We are dealing with a pig that eats and is never full. his way or the highway.

    • Ssgt Javon Price
      Ssgt Javon Price October 7, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      A law is a law Matthew regardless if is one race on top of another or smoking. If Rosa Parks didn’t the break law and sat to the front of bus, who knows what would still be happening today.

      • Jennifer October 7, 2017 at 9:51 pm

        We would have been better off if she stayed at the back of the bus. Guaranteed.

    • Matthew Jordan
      Matthew Jordan October 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      If you want the laws changed, then there are ways to go about that. Marijuana has proven to be effective for medicinal purposes. We have the power to elect people that will push this agenda in our favor but we continue to elect people based on how much money they can put in our pockets.
      Haven’t we learnt that we can’t have out cake and eat it too?

      For those of us that live in Barbados, marijuana is illegal. There is no excuse for breaking the law. This is where you live, if you don’t like it then either use your constitutional right and vote people innolace that will push your agenda or move to Holland!

    • Matthew Jordan
      Matthew Jordan October 7, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Again! You are using an oppression situation and comparing it to a marijuana case! That is absurd!

    • Matthew Jordan
      Matthew Jordan October 7, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Rosa Parks fought for the rights of black people to be treated fairly, you’re really comparing that to somebody wanting the right to smoke weed?

    • Matthew Jordan
      Matthew Jordan October 7, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      Ssgt Javon Price I agree with you, people need to take a stand when there are injustices against them
      But you’re comparing a social activist to a country that has some citizens who want to smoke weed! Smh!
      Now if I wasn’t clear at the beginning let me clarify now… I too believe that marijuana has some medicinal value but unless the laws change it is still illegal where we live. Therefore you cannot encourage people to break the law because Holland legalized it. We don’t live in Holland.
      I keep telling people that we have the power to make change. WE elect the government officials so why not elect people who will push that agenda? You know why? Because when someone comes along with a couple hundred dollars and bribe their vote, we does get and find ourselves in these exact positions.

    • Ser Guerrique
      Ser Guerrique October 7, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Matthew Jordan what if the bureaucrats in both political dichotomies decided that they don’t want Marijuana legalized?, who should we elect or what should we do then?.

  2. Jacob Donawa
    Jacob Donawa October 7, 2017 at 10:42 am

    yeah their dumb unproductive laws that damage the nation while offering absolutely no benefit. We have do away with this archaic and useless type of thinking and become more productive and realistic, stop believing in other peoples made up myths and start looking at the facts.

  3. Joan E Small
    Joan E Small October 7, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I see you’ll finally getting It! All those young people with police Records! For what! this was going on for years in Barbados! Destroying young Lives! No one complains about smoking dangerous Tobacco!And drinking Alcohol! Those two things should be the main focused! where young people is concerned! With all the health problems that comes from Them!

    • Davie Etwaroo
      Davie Etwaroo October 7, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      U know what they call vagrants? Is the ganja got them so. ..

  4. Sonia Russell
    Sonia Russell October 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

    It’s a bloody medicine not a drug. Look at Amsterdam. Check out the crime rate there. We let d white man tell its a drug only to realise its all books down to money and control. Look at Holland its illegal

    • Matthew Jordan
      Matthew Jordan October 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      You live in Holland or you live hey?

    • Sonia Russell
      Sonia Russell October 7, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      UK. But I’ve been twice and it the most coolest place

  5. Steven Layne
    Steven Layne October 7, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Were you’ll blind when the only people to get job security where the same people that put you in jail ,now it’s finally hitting home, becuse you don’t smoke but you son love it .

  6. Stell Alleyne
    Stell Alleyne October 7, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I agree…no jailing but rehab!

    • Ser Guerrique
      Ser Guerrique October 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Rehabilitation from what?, having a relaxed mind and being peckish and famished afterward?. ( having the munchies ).

  7. Alex Alleyne October 7, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    The talk should be about research on the “weed” for MEDICAL USE” , still all I can hear about smoking and getting high.
    Putting a person in DODDS for a spliff is a waste of time while others with tons of COKE get a fancy lawyer and walk free.
    I remember a School Teacher use to call some Children “A BUNCH OF NUMBSKULL”.
    That is exactly what BDS will be as weed free up and flow and more money up in smoke.
    We must introduce a ‘DRUG TEST IN THE WORK PLACE” in order to keep the workers safe and DRUG FREE, or the polyclinics will be over flowing.

    • Jennifer October 7, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      Well said Alex. Them ain’t interested in no medicinal/drug development. Just want to plant and fu345ng smoke. Get high and f%#*. Let the white man monopolize and develop the medicines and make all the money, then exploit them sick azz to buy it. Simple minded people. Them in parliament so too. wanna get knock up in the head real good.

  8. Sonia Russell
    Sonia Russell October 7, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Barbados is still run by the constitution of england and its Just use puppets to disguise. It’s still under modern day slavery. When will we use our own laws and our own ideas and education.take a page out of Seychelles they run out the British and laws and constitutes. This is what a messing up all the British speaking islands.oh and don’t forget Spanish too.very ignorant.especially the class crap which is a man made illusion bring our true natives and indigenous ways in sure there be more peace and harmony

  9. Horace Boyce
    Horace Boyce October 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Jail dem all

    • Horace Boyce
      Horace Boyce October 7, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Sabrina Brathwaite u cud b vex or plz it dont matter me

  10. Sonia Russell
    Sonia Russell October 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Listen its cures medicine its use for cancer and help is good for external used as well making textiles.its not a drug. Alcohol do more dance than good so does bloody cigarettes. The laws in Barbados ain’t we own its the British or American it ain’t bajan

  11. Sonia Russell
    Sonia Russell October 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    That’s fuh sure

  12. Lennox hewitt October 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Lol check d job check d job .

  13. Winnie Meade
    Winnie Meade October 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    How come you are talking now it election time you cannot fool the young people no more sorry say nothing

  14. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose October 7, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Community service

  15. Claire Battershield
    Claire Battershield October 7, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Every one is going to jump on the legalise the weed train. After all football has gotten overworked the last 2 elections.

  16. Rasheed Hope
    Rasheed Hope October 7, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    But u know that people already in jail for weed so they have no choice but to keep it illegal

  17. Cathy Jessamy-Babb
    Cathy Jessamy-Babb October 7, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    They should allow them over a certain age because if not prescribed, they can hurt themselves with all of that smoke and that smelly scent. Think of the dangers not the pleasure.

  18. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed October 7, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    So if some “scientist” come up with research to show meth & cocaine got medicinal value ….Will I hear “LEGALISE THEM?”

  19. Sonia Russell
    Sonia Russell October 7, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    It’s the freakin guns. They should be more considering

  20. Swindley Edwards
    Swindley Edwards October 7, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    The brainless will ALWAYS do the THOUGHLESS.

  21. Elaine Van Huis October 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Wake up folk, you embrace cigarettes and alcohol, ganja is a lot less harmful. In fact Barbados need to make it a cash crop since it is now in demand for medicinal purposes.

  22. Elaine Vanhuis
    Elaine Vanhuis October 7, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Wake up folk, you embrace cigarettes and alcohol, ganja is a lot less harmful. In fact Barbados need to make it a cash crop since it is now in demand for medicinal purposes. and barbados need a cash crop really bad.

    • Jennifer October 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      Barbados not only needs to make it a cash crop but do the medicinal research and development. This is where the money is at, do not let the USA do all the drug development. We need to move pass the cane days. We suppose to got scientist now.

  23. Sativa Tafari
    Sativa Tafari October 7, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    If marijuana was legal it does not mean everyone will smoke it. Compare the health of marijuana smokers to that of cigarette smokers. Compare the effects of marijuana to that of alcohol and tell me which one should be legal and good for use. The point made about “the effect it would have on society” dnt be on denial, with all the marijuana users in Barbados what “effect” does it have? You tink an effect will only surface after legalisation? Any negavtivity due to ganja would already be known. It was in use for yearrrrssss. Talks about influencing teens. Is every teen a drunkard? A panadol overdosers? Stupseee. If you fear that your child will abuse drugs just because they are legal then go off facebook and re evaluate your parent skills. You want me to believe that everytime someone behaves bad they are high on marijuana and that it why ot was sooo bad it had to be illegal.

  24. Ras October 7, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Why are you saying what God has created is illegal
    Anything Jehovah God Almighty created is legal


  25. Mikey October 7, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Has there been any debate/discussion on the ill effects of smoking marijuana and the resultant costs overruns on Government’s health budget for the QEH and the Polyclinics ?

  26. Alex Alleyne October 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

    In the USA “WEED” should bring in US$17 Billion by 2021. It is said that weed is on par with HERION AND LSD with NO MEDICAL BENFITS.


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